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Abandoned and Old Sections

of U.S. Highway 290

From Brenham to Hockley

Page 2 of 3

Photos by Martin G. Blaise

The next section of Old Highway 290 is not noted with any highway signs. I actually found out about this section by looking on   The sign to the cross road off present-day US 290 reads Malinowski Lane.

Click here and take a look at this map - notice it labels old US 290.

The road starts off near a historical marker and you can just make out the end of old US 290 as you can see in the photo. Malinowski Road looks just like any other county road in the area, at first. But, then the road changes drastically.

The old highway section starts here. The center stripe is still quite visible at this point. If you were to continue straight ahead it would tie directly into two of the four lanes of US 290. The old highway is completely covered over by grass here. Here is an aerial photo of this location.

No center stripe yet showing on this part of Malinowski Road (old US 290). It looks like this section is still maintained as a county road.  However, at the end of this picture the road narrows and there is a double yellow solid line painted in the middle.  The road begins curving to the left, and it starts getting narrower and narrower, then the whole right lane is covered up with growth.  The woods get deeper as well and trees and brush are more thick here.

And then - you come to this abrupt dead end!  There are two dirt paths on either side of this dead end.  You can just make out the one on the left.  I was not exactly sure where they would take me, but it was getting pretty creepy here so I decided to not go beyond this point.  I had a feeling that the Brazos River was just several hundred yards ahead and below me at this location.  I later looked up an aerial photo on the terraserver.  I found the two paths and I found approximately where the old US 290 bridge would have crossed the Brazos River.  Maybe on another day I will venture down there to see if any old bridge supports are still standing.  I might also try to see if photos are possible from the opposite bank.  There was also supposed to be an abandoned railroad line and bridge to the south of this location.

This is a view facing west with the dead end behind me.  This road was eerily quiet except for birds and wildlife.  It is hard to imagine this was once a main route between Houston and Austin.  The double yellow center stripes are not visible here, but show up very well about were the road starts to curve in the back of this photo.

Here are some aerial photos on the terraserver that show were the old bridge would have been as well as the two paths I saw.  1. Closeup of where old US290 bridge should have been. 2. Zoomed out of same location showing more detail - but I can't make out any old bridge supports. 3. Aerial photo of Malinowski Lane (old 290) - it's the curving road at the top of the photo. 4. A zoomed out photo showing the old and new highways.  You can use the terraserver to find all kinds of old highway sections by using the aerial photos and the topographic maps.

This abandoned section was once part of a sweeping curve that alerted you were going into the town of Hempstead.  Before the bypass and later freeway section took US 290 straight ahead, this was the inbound traffic lanes to Hempstead.  You went around this semi-sharp curve and then a more steeply banked curve and you slowed down to go through town.  For years, you had to go through Hempstead and your trip would be several minutes slower with turns and traffic lights. However, you could stop if you liked watermelons or maybe wanted to shop at a flea market or one of the produce markets. So what is this section being used for now? - you guessed it - storage!!  This a fairly recent section abandoned highway 290 compared to the others.

Just outside Hempstead I took this photo of Old Houston Highway.  This is the oldest of four different alignments of US 290. They are A. present-day US 290 freeway which bypasses Hempstead, B. the briefly used bypass from the bypass (see below), C. current Business 290 (the signs have an "H" under the 290 - I'm not sure if the "H" is a type of business designation) which was the main route before the bypasses and D. this old road, the earliest highway between Houston and Hempstead.

This "bypass" is currently highway Farm-to-Market Road 359, but for a few years carried the US 290 designation while a new freeway was under construction on a different alignment between Hempstead and Hockley.  The new freeway was built in sections - to Prairie View, to Waller and then lastly to Hockley.  Various part of the freeway were opened, but until the whole freeway was completed, you were routed onto this bypass which is actually a very nice highway.  It was probably designed as a four-lane divided due to the high volume of traffic on US 290. I think US 290 has been at least four lanes from Houston to Austin for many years.  It would probably have been in the late 50s or early 60s when sections were still only 2-lane. 

The north/west bound lanes of the bypass went along the hill in the center of this photo.  It's not easy to see, but there are four poles stuck in the ground where the old section once ran.  For an aerial photo of the bypass IN USE in 1995 before the freeway was finished, click here.

The old highway markings are clearly visible in this photo.  You can definitely see how the highway was routed onto the bypass.  Some of the reflectors are even still in place on the road.

This was along the old Houston Highway / Washington County Road - probably the earliest alignment of US 290.  I just liked the look of the old railroad signal.  How did we ever survive without crossing gates??  This photo is near Prarie View and Waller, Texas.

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